As a new business owner, one of the first decisions you'll have to face is whether to hire someone to help you. And, of course, there are other related decisions: if you decide you need someone for 40 hours per week, should you hire one full-time employee or two part-timers? And so on.
Employee expenses are often the largest single category of operating expenses for a small business and can make the difference between profitability and going out of business. It is also difficult to hire and fire employees, both psychologically and legally. The small business owner should consider applying "just-in-time inventory" planning to employee usage as well, utilizing part-time employees or single-project contract labor (e.g., from temporary help agencies) to obtain additional help exactly when and as long as needed.
The way to start figuring out your employee-related costs is to project your staffing needs. When you think about your need for employees, remember to take into account nonworking time, such as vacations, absences, and employee turnover. For example, what happens if you hire one full-time person and he wants to take a vacation? What will your new business do while he's on vacation?
When you are running a small business, you should be prepared for various kinds of obstacles. Employees are a major part of the obstacles that you face in a small business.
Some employees have problems when it comes to work load responsibility. These employees may be those that simply do not want to do more than they are supposed to do within the stipulated daily work time. However, as an employer you would need to ass whether this is a real condition or if the employee has genuine problems handling a particular work load. Employees that are overloaded feel that they are either not getting paid enough for their work or that they simply can not handle all the work that they are given even if they were to get an increase in salary.
In cases of overload, where an employee feels that s/he has been working more than the compensation offered overtime payment may arise. As an employer you may want to pay your employee extra to make sure that s/he continues to perform well. Sometimes it is just the matter of being paid more that helps an employee work more and take on a greater load. Remember, more money can do wonders. Naturally, employees that put in greater efforts and a greater number of work hours also need to be compensated. So, you justifiably need to pay an employee extra if s/he is willing to work on assignments that take more than the stipulated work-time.
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Recruiting Employees Can Be A Difficult Task
For most of us who either own or manage a small business, recruiting employees can be a difficult task. With the high cost of recruiting agencies and employee turnover problems, small businesses as well as large corporations need to consider other options in finding employees.
- Employee Referral Program. Tap into your existing base of employees. Most people will recommend people they want to work with—people they already have a high regard for and trust. Depending on the position to be filled, attach a bonus program to your employee referral program. If the new employee lasts through the probation period, reward the referring employee with a predetermined bonus, such as three percent of their annual salary or wage.
- Mail Program. Looking for that perfect employee? Let your current customers know that your company is growing. Send letters or postcards to local customers announcing you are searching for an additional employee. State the qualifications you are looking for and ask them if they know of any potential candidates. By utilizing the customer base that your company is servicing, you will widen your employee search as well as inform your customers that you company is growing to serve them better.
- Human Resources. Your small business is growing, but many large companies are downsizing. Contact Human Resource Departments of corporations that are downsizing. In most cases, they will send you free books loaded with resumes of people that are out of work and looking for employment. These people have prior experience and most of all are highly motivated to find a job.
- Employee Hiring. For some lower-level or entry-level positions, allowing employees to hire or at least be part of the hiring program can facilitate the hiring process. After all, these employees will be working together. This practice will assure two things. First, it assures that the employees are compatible and that they will function well as a team. Secondly, you are grooming your employees to make management decisions.
- General Public. When you need unskilled or entry-level employees, pay attention to the general public. Each day we come in contact with people working as waiters, receptionists, or cab drivers. Are these people courteous or helpful? Do they put in extra effort to complete their jobs? These are people that are not out to impress you—they do not know that you are looking to hire someone. Trust your instincts and ask if they are looking for additional part-time or full-time employment.
- Depressed Markets. It is no secret that while one region may be prospering, another may be depressed. Look in areas of the country that have a similar climate and cultural background. Here you may find people that have little opportunity in their current area and are willing to move if the job position is similar to their past position. Once again, you increase the possibility of finding an experienced candidate for that open position.
- Classified Ads. This is the most-used method, especially for small businesses. Develop your ad based on the qualifications that you are looking for, not by how many lines you get for the $4.95 special. Be precise in what the perfect candidate is and ask for resumes to be sent to a post office address. By receiving the resumes in the mail, you can evaluate the backgrounds of those responding and save time by interviewing only those you think are qualified.
Good employees are difficult to find and even harder to keep. Once you have them, reward them. Make them feel like team players and never take them for granted.
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Looking after a new employee during their first few weeks at work can mean the difference between their success and failure as employees as well as your success and failure as an employer, manager or supervisor.
Proper orientation determines how fast the new employee can be productive and efficient in his or her new job while giving you a good opportunity to make your new employee an efficient part of your team.
We have listed some suggestions that will help you deal with your new employees during their first few weeks to help make sure that they get started on the right track.
- Have a induction policy for welcoming and training new employees. Don't just leave it to whoever is available. Human resources should cover the HR side of the induction with a trainer (if you have one) or a senior manager or supervisor covering the more hands on part of the job. Either way the following is a minimum of what is required.
- Give your employee a warm welcome. Don't just point them to the area they work and let them get on with it. Nothing makes a new employee feel comfortable more than a warm welcome.
- Give them a brief description about your role as a supervisor. Knowing who's in charge and what you expect from them will make them more comfortable with you as the boss.
- Give your new employee a welcome tour of the whole department or, if the site isn't too big, the whole site. Make sure they know how to get to the bathroom, emergency exits, cafeteria, etc.
- Give them a brief summary about the company, its history as well as its mission and objectives.
- If possible demonstrate your company’s products and/or services, paying particular attention to the products relating to the area in which the employee will work. This will make them more secure and confident with the work that they are going to be doing.
- Explain to your new employee how the company works particularly if the company has any unusual working practices or a different structure than the norm. Again, this will help familiarize them with the company.
- Tell your new employee about the company’s competitors and what is being done to make sure that the company is staying ahead of the competition.
- Explain in detail your new employee’s responsibilities and describe their job functions. Don't leave it to the other employees to teach them the basics unless there is a trained member of staff whose job it is.
- Let your new employee be aware of what you and the company expect from them. This includes proper work ethics, productivity, teamwork, and appearance.
- Explain the specific conditions and requirements of employment, including hours, pay, pay periods, holiday pay, sickness provisions, pension, medical benefits, lateness etc.
- Be very clear about the safety rules, policies, procedures and regulations. Explain and show proper use of safety devices.
- Introduce your new employee to his or her co workers along with a brief description of their jobs and responsibilities.
- Outline opportunities for promotions and other opportunities.
- To give them time to acclimatize give them a work buddy, a friendly experienced worker, to show them the job and work with them for the first week of two.
Covering all of these basics will help new employees settle in and they will be more efficient able to be contribute much more quickly compared to employees that are just left to their own devices.
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